By the Watermark Community Team
With summer Singles GroupLink in full swing, we’re looking forward to kicking off between 30 and 40 new community groups in about a month. Wow! We’re thrilled to see all the people who have taken steps toward getting connected in biblical community.
As these new groups get started, it’s really important for everyone in the group to be on the same page for how the group will operate. You could call these the “community group rules.” OK, they aren’t really “rules” – but they are definitely expectations.
Each person approaches community with a unique set of expectations, and it’s really important that those are clearly expressed, and that the group accurately reflects the expectations of the members in it, as well as those of the church. People have to know exactly what they are getting into, and then commit to being a part of it. If they fully know what to expect and fully commit to it, they won’t leave won’t leave when things get tough.
Below are some typical expectations that community group members have of one another. Your group’s list might have some different things on it, or some details might change. That’s OK, as long as you all agree on them, and they line up with the vision for biblical community.
Community Group Rules
Trust is key. What is said within the group stays within the group. This is a safe place, where group members can freely share everything in an environment that fosters deep confidence and trust with one another over time. If widening the circle is the most loving thing to do to help someone in a given situation, those steps of trust will be taken together as a group, as well.
Honesty and openness are the standard. You should talk about the kinds of accountability that the group will practice. There are two types of honesty in accountability: simply not lying, or actively telling the truth and not holding back important information. It takes some time to build this level of trust, but your group should expect to be completely authentic with one another.
Be there, unless it’s an emergency or an agreed-upon absence. “Attendance” means you are at the meeting, prepared, and you participate.We get it – life happens! Family events come up, or work emergencies, or maybe an illness. But you all should be on the same page for what is an OK reason to miss group. Your favorite TV show’s season finale? (Hint: NOPE!) A sports game? If you’ve agreed to a weekly meeting time but miss regularly, you may not be putting a high enough priority on community.
We start on time. Not “when the last person gets there.” That doesn’t respect everyone else. Honor one another’s time by being on time yourself. If something does cause you to be late, communicate that well with others in the group.
It's a commitment. Paul says in Galatians 5 that faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit that should be evident in the life of a believer. It doesn’t mean you can’t get married and therefore join a different community group for married couples, or get a new job and move, but if you’re still in Dallas and in the single life stage, we want to see faithfulness be a hallmark of all of our communities.
There are lots of other expectations that you should be aligned on, such as how much time you’ll spend together during the week, or what you’ll actually do during group time. But this list will get you started in actually meeting together!
What “rules” or expectations have you found helpful in community?